Sunday Notes February 19th 2017

ask-the-manager

Attempted Power play fizzles out

The Political Power play by either Brian Martin or has the spin in the bubble and story in today’s Lowell Sun that Sen. Eileen’s staffers have been contacting several state offices to check on these restrictions after receiving numerous inquiries was not only amateurish but backfired.

It was a weak attempt to kill the momentum for the Cawley site but appears to have done the exact opposite. Up until Thursday night no one was 100% sure what Councilor Elliott’s choice was but he left no doubt he was backing the Cawley site and his Manager. To a degree I think John Leahy is now leaning that way along with Rita Mercier, Corey Belanger and Jim Leary. Bill Samaras has stated now on several occasions that if eminent domain isn’t used, he prefers the Cawley site.

Why anyone who even heard a rumor about a restriction would not bring it forward to the Managers office or one of the members of the building committee first, is inexcusable! It ranks up there with the Superintendent of Schools NOT informing the School Committee about the parking issue.

If the speculation is true that Brian Martin the Head of School who is a former City Manager or the State Senator who like Martin is a former Councilor and Mayor deliberately kept that information from not only the Manager but the rest of the board in a last-minute hail mary attempt to stop the stadium momentum it is disheartening. They have been there, done that and should have known better.

Why anyone thought publicly embarrassing the Manger, Law Dept. and building committee members who put in a lot of time and effort in an attempted show of power or a way to stop the Cawley site was a good idea, had a higher opinion of themselves and their power than what exists.

It could, sadly, speak volumes about what this move was really about Legacy and Power!

Not the students…Not the best Educational Envioment…but the Martin legacy at the current High School and the softball fields named after the family that are being removed from the stadium and who really is the most powerful political force in the city.

In my view, the Martin Family is one of Lowell’s finest with a strong record of service to Lowell. Brian has been Mr. Lowell, from his days has a City Councilor, Mayor, Asst. City Manager, City Manager, AD at Lowell High, District Coordinator for Niki Tsongas and now Headmaster. He has transformed the reputation of Lowell High and has a great legacy of commitment and service to the city. Does he really think that would suffer if a new school was built at Cawley?

Many were surprised Eileen jumped ahead of Golden- Murphy-Nangle for the Senate seat and she has moved up the state house power line pretty well. She ran for Congress and rumors persist she has her eyes on the Managers job. She may present the appearance of the politician just happy to be where she is but if you look at her track record she has shown the desire to move up the political power ladder.

Yesterday on WCAP she denied that she was behind the article 97 move but in today’s Sun it appears she knew her staff was looking into it. If that is the case, the question is why didn’t she inform her state house colleagues or the Manager that her staff was looking into it before it came to a letter being sent?

Splitting the City

Unfortunately this move is showing what I feared would happen. Lines are being drawn, neighbors are fighting neighbors. People are making erroneous statements, making threats to vote out people or pull their kids out, all before the next phrase of this project has even begun.

Environmental test, traffic studies, economic impact issues all need to be looked at. Where exactly modulars would go and how many will be needed have to be presented before we can actually make a final judgment of where the best location really is.

To those who want to pull their students, that is your right. If you can afford private school or they get into the Tech.and that brings you peace of mind god bless.

The entire school district will suffer the loss because even if we lose 100 High School students @ $13,000 per that isn’t enough students to lay off staff or close a program so the $1.3 million dollars lost will be cut in the district not just the High School. Elementary and middle school programs could also be affected.

I’ve been open about supporting the Cawley site but if for one reason or another that proves to be not possible than I hope City Councilor’s would be willing to be open to the eminent domain issue. The only way staying downtown makes any sense is to expand the footprint and eliminate any need for modulars. Don’t rule that out until all reports are submitted and reviewed.

I’m asking everyone to make the same commitment I have, that no matter what the final site is, you will support the renovation or addition or new building and not throw away the $200 million dollars in state funding because of our own personal or political beliefs.

Getting waiver on Article 97 NOT UNCOMMON
art-97

In fact Sen. Eileen Donoghue has voted YES on many Acts requesting the waiver including last January 2016, H3819 for the Town of North Reading. I’m not sure how long a process it was on the town side but the legislature side was only 4 months. It’s good that the Sen. has stated she’s keeping neutral on a site and has supported multiple bills for other communities to waive the article 97 restrictions. That should indicate her willingness to support her own city!

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So hopefully the 3 Lowell State Reps. will join the Senator and all will help push this through.

One thing that may make this restriction null and void is the fact then Manager Martin and Mayor Donoghue with the then administration of the City and the state agencies involved never filed a deed restriction on those parcels. If no deed restriction is recorded, then none exist. Lawyers may disagree but Lowell may be able to take advantage of a technicality.

Congratulations to one of the Good Guys
henry

That would be Henry Marchand who has taken over as Director of Cultural Affairs & Special Events for the City of Lowell.

Best of Luck..Taking a chance on the City of Lowell
You can disagree with Ted Panos on many things (trust me, he and I have and still do) but his love of the City can’t be questioned and even in the mist of approaching fatherhood the soon, husband to be and his family are investing in the city, expanding their restaurant and opening a 50 room boutique hotel on Market St. if all goes has planned it will open within a year. GOOD LUCK!

Stay tuned in or turn off City Life this Thursday

I will be a guest on City Life this Thursday Feb. 23rd from 6:00-8:00 no doubt talking Lowell High, the Hamilton Canal, Article 97, the upcoming budgets, this years municipal elections and all things Lowell and Chelmsford.

I’ll ask George if he remembers getting mad at former Headmaster Stamas when the city was deciding in 1976 whether to do what ended up as the 1980’s project on the High School.

George was livid at then Headmaster Peter Stamas who sent letters home district wide urging support of the school addition and renovation and including the contact information for the Councilor’s. Here’s the Sun story from back then.

22-apr-1976-page-41-the-lowell-sun-at-newspapers

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